Category: News

Bargaining update – Summer 2019

July 24, 2019

Sisters and Brothers,

I hope your summer is going well and you are able to enjoy some time with friends and family.

We have received official notice from the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board that our hearing dates for the Public Interest Commission (PIC) have been set for January 6th and 20th, 2020.  This is really the same timeline as the other tables that are heading to the PIC.  While we are disappointed with the incredibly long timelines throughout this process the dates are set.

At this hearing, we will present our side on the issues that need fixing in our workplaces in addition to the economic increases that we deserve.  Make no mistake, you deserve no less than other bargaining agents got and we will make the case that you deserve better. 

Recently and on more than one occasion, we made it clear to the employer that we are willing to go back to the bargaining table in the event that they are willing to make meaningful progress on our bargaining demands including the economic proposals.  Please know that to this point there is no wage offer on the table.

As stated above, if the employer wishes to move forward, they have every opportunity to show you that they want to address our issues by getting back to the table. 

We only want the best for you and with your help we will make it happen.

While waiting for the PIC to take place, many actions can be taken such as meeting with your MP especially given the impending election and their canvassing.  Letter writing is also an option as the incumbents wish to be re-elected and their competition need your votes to do so.  Take advantage of that leverage. If you haven’t done so already, please consider writing the Minister of National Revenue as well. 

We can do this together.

In Solidarity,

Adam Jackson
UTE 2nd National Vice-President

PSAC/UTE continue pursuit of a fair collective agreement with the CRA

June 1, 2019

“The tentative collective agreement settlements reached by the federal Treasury Board and the Canada Revenue Agency with some federal unions this week will not stand in the way of proper compensation for PSAC/UTE members who work for the CRA”, says PSAC National President Chris Aylward. 

“Negotiations with the CRA are at impasse and, despite the Agency’s objections, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board is establishing a Public Interest Commission to review the positions of the parties and make recommendations, says UTE National President Marc Brière. 

“We are prepared to go back to the bargaining table, but the CRA must show it is prepared to address the important concerns of our members including compensation, work-life balance and working conditions in call centres,” said Brière. 

After almost a year of negotiations, the Agency continues to insist on concessions and refused to table wages when the parties met in mediation. 

Our bargaining team is interested in collective agreement improvements, not rollbacks,” said UTE 2nd National Vice-President Adam Jackson. 

“There are serious problems at CRA that need resolving, including issues related to scheduling and the fact that a great many of our members spend years at the Agency as terms and are never provided the opportunity for permanent employment. This needs to change,” concluded Brière. 

The PSAC-UTE bargaining team is committed to achieving a fair contract—one that protects hard-fought gains and secures new rights and protections for PSAC-UTE members. 

Be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca for more information and to subscribe for regular updates. Should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President

PSAC-UTE declares impasse as CRA refuses to address member concerns

May 10, 2019

The PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) bargaining team representing members at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) declared bargaining impasse following talks held from May 7 to 9 in Ottawa. The session was held in the presence of a federal mediator.

The CRA once again refused to address key member concerns and instead insisted on the union agreeing to concessions.

  • Wages: We tabled a wage proposal back in December. The Agency ignored it for several months but eventually agreed to present its response at this week’s session. In an unprecedented move, however, the CRA reneged on its promise.
     
  • Term employment: We presented a proposal to allow term employees the opportunity to gain indeterminate status, rather than spending years on short term contracts. Other federal employers have adopted policies addressing such concerns. The CRA refused to address this issue.
     
  • Work-life balance: We proposed improvements to work-life balance, including an increase in paid leave, consistent with the government’s claimed commitment to work-life balance. The CRA said no to our proposal.
     
  • Conditions in call centres: We proposed improved working conditions in call centres, including more rest breaks and more reasonable, reduced monitoring of employees by management. The CRA said no to our proposal.
     
  • Scheduling and hours of work: We proposed changes including making evening shifts voluntary and recognizing years of service where there is evening and weekend work. The Agency has repeatedly approached PSAC-UTE to discuss increasing evening shifts and a joint union-employer study found evidence of favouritism and inconsistent practices in CRA workplaces with evening and weekend shifts. The CRA said no to our proposal and instead proposed language that could result in employees being scheduled by management to work outside core hours against their wishes.

We believe the years of service that an employee gives to the Agency should count for something. Unfortunately, the Agency does not, and insists instead that employees would prefer management deciding whether or not they work evenings and weekends in certain workplaces.

The PSAC-UTE bargaining team is committed to achieving a fair contract—one that protects hard-fought gains and secures new rights and protections for PSAC-UTE members.

Be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca for more information and to subscribe for regular updates. Should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President

CRA bargaining: Mediation begins, limited progress achieved

April 5, 2019

The PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) bargaining team representing members at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) held talks with the employer between April 2 and 4.  The session was held at the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board in Ottawa in the presence of a federal mediator.

Key issues for this round of bargaining, such as excessive term employment and hours of work, remain unresolved. Moreover, the union has still not received a response to the wage proposal. This is disappointing, and PSAC-UTE believes Treasury Board interference in the bargaining approach taken by CRA management is an obstacle to making significant progress at the table.

Nevertheless, the bargaining team did achieve limited progress on some other issues at this week’s meetings and agreed to hold another session with the mediator between May 6 and 9.

PSAC-UTE remains committed to advancing the following priorities through the mediation process:

  • Protections against excessive term employment, along with more permanent jobs and income security.
  • Protections against the expansion of shift work, as well as new rights for employees scheduled to work evenings.
  • Increased work-life balance, with an emphasis on improved access to leave.
  • Improved conditions for call centre workers, including scheduling rights and better protections.
  • Union rights in the workplace, consistent with what other federal employers have agreed to.
  • Fair wage increases that minimally keep up with inflation.  

The bargaining team appreciates the support it has received from the membership throughout this process and encourages members to continue showing visible support for the union and bargaining proposals in the workplace.

Updates will be provided as things evolve. In the meantime, be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

CRA Bargaining: Dates set for mediation

March 6, 2019

Federal mediator to convene PSAC-UTE and CRA in early April.

A federal mediator appointed by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board has announced that mediation between PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been scheduled for April 2-4 in Ottawa.

The forthcoming mediation session follows many frustrating months of stalled negotiations between the union and CRA, during which the employer did not meaningfully address members’ concerns and instead pushed for concessions. As a result, PSAC-UTE declared bargaining impasse in January and asked the Labour Board to establish a Public Interest Commission (PIC).

In late February, the Labour Board named a mediator for the dispute and asked both parties to return to the bargaining table with the mediator’s assistance. The Board also  indicated that the establishment of a PIC will be delayed to allow mediation to proceed.

The PSAC-UTE bargaining team remains committed to negotiating a new collective agreement that addresses members’ concerns and ensures fair wage increases.

Updates will be provided as things evolve. In the meantime, be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

CRA bargaining: Labour board appoints mediator

February 28, 2019

The Labour Board has appointed a mediator in PSAC-UTE’s contract dispute with the CRA.

On February 27, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board named a federal mediator to assist in talks between the PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The Board’s decision follows PSAC-UTE’s declaration of bargaining impasse in January, after many frustrating months of stalled negotiations.

The PSAC-UTE bargaining team is now in the process of reaching out to the mediator to set dates for the next bargaining session.

The Board also declared that the creation of a Public Interest Commision will be delayed in order to give the parties an opportunity to return to the bargaining table with the assistance of the mediator.

Since bargaining began eight months ago, the union has made it clear that key member priorities for the next contract are:

  • Protections against excessive term employment, along with more permanent jobs and income security. 
  • Protections against the expansion of shift work, as well as new rights for employees scheduled to work evenings. 
  • Increased work-life balance, with an emphasis on improved access to leave. 
  • Improved conditions for call centre workers, including scheduling rights and better protections. 
  • Union rights in the workplace, consistent with what other federal employers have agreed to.
     
  • Fair wage increases that minimally keep up with inflation.   

Unfortunately, over many months of talks, the CRA remained unwilling to meaningfully address the above concerns, and instead pushed for concessions.

Updates will be provided as things evolve. In the meantime, be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

CRA Bargaining: PSAC-UTE awaiting response from Labour Board following impasse declaration

February 4, 2019

PSAC-UTE filed for a Public Interest Commission in January.

At the end of the last bargaining session with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) the PSAC/UTE bargaining team declared impasse and filed for the creation of a Public Interest Commission with the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Bargaining commenced with the Agency in June of last year. At the outset of negotiations, and in every session since, the union made clear to the CRA the key priorities for this round of negotiations:

  • Protections against excessive term employment, along with more permanent jobs and income security. 
  • Protections against the expansion of shift work, as well as new rights for employees scheduled to work evenings. 
  • Increased work-life balance, with an emphasis on improved access to leave. 
  • Improved conditions for call centre workers, including scheduling rights and better protections. 
  • Union rights in the workplace, consistent with what other federal employers have agreed to.  

The bargaining team reiterated these priorities again during the January 2019 bargaining session.

PSAC-UTE also tabled a wage proposal in early December that would ensure fair increases that keep up with the cost of living. However, the CRA stated that it would not table a wage position at the January bargaining session.

The union agreed to meet with the CRA all the same in attempt to resolve the other key non-wage priorities listed above. Despite the fact that other federal employers have agreed to improvements in almost all of these key areas since the last contract with CRA was settled in 2016, the CRA provided zero indication that it would address these issues over the last seven months of negotiations.

For example, even though there are term employees who have worked for many years at the CRA without ever being made permanent, the CRA has said that it will not discuss the matter. Meanwhile, throughout all bargaining sessions, the CRA has continued to insist that the union give up worker rights that have existed in the collective agreement for decades.

The bargaining team is looking for improvements in this round of negotiations, not steps backwards.

Given this lack of flexibility on the part of the CRA, PSAC/UTE filed for impasse with the Labour Board. Bargaining began seven months ago and the union believes it’s time to proceed to the next step in the process. PSAC-UTE awaits news from the Labour Board.

Be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

Updates will be provided as things evolve.

CRA bargaining: PSAC-UTE Declares Impasse

January 25, 2019

CRA fails to respond to union wage proposal and other key concerns; continues to insist on concessions.

The PSAC-Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) bargaining team met with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on January 21-24 to continue negotiations for a new collective agreement.

The team tabled a wage proposal two months ago that would ensure fair increases that keep up with the rising cost of living. However, the CRA opted not to make a wage counterproposal this week, and told the bargaining team it had no mandate to table anything beyond what was offered by Treasury Board in bargaining with PSAC.

Since the outset of bargaining, moreover, the PSAC-UTE bargaining team identified key issues that needed to be resolved in this round, including: evening & shift work, excessive term employment, work/life balance in call centres and job security. No serious progress has been made on any these issues, despite the fact that other federal employers have agreed to improvements in almost all of these areas since PSAC-UTE settled the last contract with CRA.

Negotiations began last June, and since then, little of substance has been accomplished, while the CRA continues to ask us for concessions.

In bargaining, the union provided the CRA with numerous examples of problems, from employees being forced to work evenings and nights to term employees spending years working for CRA and never being offered the opportunity to achieve permanency, while new hires get permanent jobs. The CRA has responded with either outright rejection of the solutions we proposed or, in some cases, it countered with proposals to make things worse. For example, it tabled a proposal that would give management the ability to schedule employees for even longer hours against their will.

On term employment, the lack of permanent jobs and other staffing concerns, the CRA won’t even discuss these at the table. As for call centres, the CRA’s proposals would not provide for significant improvements for members.

PSAC-UTE is determined to achieve a fair contract, one that protects hard fought gains and provides new rights and protections to members. PSAC-UTE members deserve to be treated with respect.

Given this lack of progress in negotiations, PSAC-UTE is declaring impasse and moving to the next step in the bargaining process prescribed by law—the establishment of a Public Interest Commission.

Under the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Act, either party may ask for the establishment of a Public Interest Commission (PIC) in the event that the parties reach impasse and are unable to reach an agreement. A PIC consists of a Chair named by the Labour Board and one representative from each side (union and employer). Once the Commission is created, its representatives set dates for a hearing in which both parties submit arguments and documentation in support of their respective positions. The PIC then issues a recommendation for settlement. The recommendation is non-binding. A PIC is not an arbitration board.

Be sure to go to www.ute-sei.org and www.psacunion.ca to see what PSAC-UTE has proposed, for more information, and to subscribe to regular updates. Also, should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

We will be sure to provide updates as things progress.

We’re Getting Ready to Bargain Our negotiating team is in place.

Our first dates are set.

Earlier this year members of the UTE Collective Bargaining Committee reviewed bargaining proposals submitted by locals and members throughout Canada. With the Negotiating Team now in place and dates set for the Negotiating Team to meet with our PSAC Negotiator and finalize our demands, our union proposed dates to commence bargaining in May (next month).

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